Be vs Do – that is the question.

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2012 was my first “full” year of retirement. In September 2010, when my good friend,and partner in crime and I had decided that this would be our last year of teaching, I had started thinking about what retirement would look like. What should I do, what should I add to my life to replace the hours that were filled by my studio responsibilities? I am very fortunate that I don’t have to work to support myself, I will always have my husband’s pension. And that is a gift. After thinking about all kinds of possibilities, basically I felt I was to continue doing the volunteer things I already did and not add anything new.  Okay, let’s see how that works. The summer of 2011 was full of the usual summer activities of district camp and summer programs at church. As the fall rolled around, the 10 anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks offered opportunities for tours, interviews and events. The Tribute Center’s “move onto the Memorial” brought added tours, training and lots of trips into lower Manhattan. I didn’t feel retired. I didn’t have to go to work and my days were full.

And then it was January of 2012 and  my first full year of retirement loomed ahead of me.  I am a list maker not so much a resolutions person but a daily list maker. I am  that person who hand writes the list and adds things that I have already done so I can cross them off. I realized that many of my list items were random deadlines and expectations that I placed on myself. I started 2012 thinking “who am I suppose to be” a shift from “what am I suppose to do”. I am starting 2013 with the same thought “who am I suppose to be”.  And it is a good thought. I don’t know the answer and that is okay. As I look back on 2012 and think on “who I was supposed to be” I see that I was:

  1. a tourist in my own city – I took the NBC TV studio tour, attended a filming of The Chew and Live with Kelly, attended a hard hat tour of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Saw Godspell and a private screening of Blue Like Jazz.
  2. a cross between Mary Poppins and Mrs Doubtfire for my nieces in New York and my great nieces in Minnesota
  3. a learner – I attended a writers conference, started a blog, joined a book club. I used you tube to learn how to remove the hard drive from a desk top computer,  and how to eat a pomegranate.
  4. a traveler – visiting my daughters in PA and Seattle. As well as attending the American Library Association Conference in CA
  5. a friend – I enjoyed breakfasts, lunches, teas and dinners with old and new friends a like.
  6. a personal assistant to my mum – I learned more about medicare, assisted living, rehab and elder care than I wanted to know but I was able to be there for her.
  7. a volunteer at church and the Tribute Center.
  8. trying to be who God wanted me to be. To hear His plans for my days.  To be present each day. To be compassionate. To be obedient to the small still voice that is so easily drown out.

Richard Rohr in Everything Belongs states: “I use this prayer to draw myself and others into a contemplative frame of mind:

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.

Be.”

a little word but a big deal – Lord, teach me to be.

 

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